Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Meet the Parents ... for Parents

Understanding Frenchman and I got our Meet the Parents moments out of the way a long time ago, and apart from my embarrassing tu/vous fiasco (which four years later I am finally just about over) and him using what he thought was the expression "take the piece out of me" (say it in a French accent) the first time he had dinner with my family, we both survived fairly unscathed.

Last weekend, my mum came over to France and it was our parents' turn to meet each other. I found it funny, talking to people about this historic event, how many of them asked me if Understanding Frenchman's parents spoke English, and never the other way round, and I was proud to defend my family's linguistic honour by answering, "No, but my mum speaks really good French," which they all seemed to find surprising. My mum learned French at school, and since I've been living in France, she's made a big effort to resurrect what she knew, so she goes to classes, reads books, and from time to time sends me emails with obscure questions about French grammar. She likes to make out that she isn't making any progress, but I've noticed plenty over the past few years.

Luckily, Understanding Frenchman's parents were also pleasantly surprised and impressed, and in return my mum was very complimentary about their beautiful garden, the house that Understanding Frenchman's dad more or less built himself, and their gorgeous four-year-old grandson who came round to visit on Sunday afternoon and showed off the fact that he had learned to count up to ten in English.

So everything went really well and fond farewells were said on Sunday evening when we caught the train back to Paris. The next step is to introduce my dad to everyone.

Unfortunately, he learned German at school :-(

6 comments:

  1. My mum took ancient Greek :-/ Imagine the challenge!

    Just kidding. Well, not kidding, but both of my parents speak enough English to talk to Mark and Feng. And Feng usually understands enough French to get by.

    My mom and brother met my in-laws when they came to Ottawa in 2010. It was... interesting. Chinese was translated to French, English to Chinese and French to... oh, screw that, at the end we just ate and shut up!

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    1. Maybe there's less potential for people falling out that way!

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  2. That's sweet that your mum brushed up her french, I guess it's nice to have a good reason to practice!

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    1. Yes - she likes to say she does it to keep dementia at bay, so maybe we're just a good excuse!

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  3. Aww! That's awesome that your mother has kept up her French for you guys!

    My mom has never taken any sort of foreign language. And J's parents don't really speak English. His dad never had it, and his mom hasn't had it since middle school. Still, she found her old book and tried to learn some things. It was quite an entertaining week, yet they still somehow managed to communicate even if I wasn't always there.

    almostbilingue.wordpress.com

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    1. I think if people have made up their minds to get on and talk to each other, they'll usually make it work! My dad will be the test of that :-)

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